19 September, 2020

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Reclaiming The Heritage Of The Indigenous People Of Sri Lanka

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9th August) should have been a great day of celebration in Sri Lanka. The history of Sri Lanka’s indigenous people goes back over 100,000 years. Even somewhat belatedly, something must be said on this great occasion. 

The fact that the nation and its people know of such a long history must itself be considered a matter of enormous significance. Prehistorians deserve the credit for bringing this matter to the people living now. These scholars have been engaged in painstaking work for many decades, carrying out excavations that have led to astounding results. It is wonderful to see that this knowledge is being shared with the public and a different worldview is now emerging in the country; a sense gratitude for people who found their way from Africa, which is considered the cradle of humanity, and settled in Sri Lanka, and left their footprints not only on the earth, but also in the minds, hearts and the souls of all the people.

As the emergence of mountains and rivers mark importance stages in the geologic history of the world, the emergence of attitudes and mental characteristics is also a natural process that leaves a permanent and inerasable trace. The ‘orographic maps’  they made of their surroundings, natural events, and their social lives have been transmitted to the conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious minds of all that were to come. That river of consciousness, with many layers, will remain the base of our moral outlook.

All those long years they lived outside the grip of private property and the state. That was possible then. Later developments, including changing agricultural practices and modes of production, gradually brought about big landholdings by private individuals, which also gave rise to conflicts. That is a long story by itself. However, even in such times of conflict and infighting, the heritage of created long ago by the country’s first inhabitants should provide the wisdom to deal with the new situation.

Thanks to prehistorians we also have a more favourable portrait of Kuweni. It is perhaps fitting on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to share a poem I wrote quite some time back on Kuweni.

Kuweni the queen

She was queen of all birds,

all elephants,

all plants and flowers,

and all seeds

 

She did not tame elephants

to fight wars or to be slaves.

She did not cage birds

Or enslave her brothers and sisters.

 

Seeds were birthed and then gave birth,

Birds sang and then there were more birds,

Elephants ganged and created more such giants,

Kuwani , their queen was queen of love.

 

Sun shined and rain rained,

winds blew and, at times, rivers flooded.

With love and care she managed it all,

She was the mother, the friend, the queen, the woman.

 

(Enter—Vijaya, Don Lorenzo de Almeida and Other Looters) 

To Kuweni’s land came the looters

They did not come to settle and share

But to battle and take

Whatever that was there

Spirit of love and care

Was no more there

 

The queen was crushed

Her people ambushed

Murder introduced

Cheaters triumphed

Looters were crowned

Kings were clowns

 

Kuweni’s blood still survives

Her sprit still lives

Like the trees, bushes and birds

Even in adverse whether survives

Her song can still be heard

Like the rainbow she reappears.

(2010)

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Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    how many veddas got elected this time around?

    • 2
      1

      The point of Basil is the man called him civilized only learned science, math or philosophy. He did not really advance. Uncivilized manners only advanced in him. Natives lived harmoniously & caringly with nature and within them too.

      The interesting part is Basil argues that before Vijaya come here only Natives were here. That is the way he claims Lankawe for Sinhalese, only. As you know these archeologists or anthropologists or the way he call them “the prehistorians” are Sinhala Buddhist Rapist Army, Bald head Ayatollahs and Sinhala extremist Intellectuals. Basil cannot looking at the Tamils, who were said in Mahavamsa as living and Sinhala Kings had to fight with them, time to time or he cannot answer what is the story of Ravana and his devotion to Siva and his Air Plane. That is why I tell that Basil is Sinhala Intellectual + hypocrite preacher.

    • 4
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      Rajash

      “how many veddas got elected this time around?”

      So far none.
      Do you want Veddahs among , crooks, cheats, robber barons, war criminals, ……….?

  • 3
    2

    what about this fake Native Vedda?

    Any music for him?
    ;./

    • 4
      0

      a14455

      Do you want Veddahs among , crooks, cheats, robber barons, war criminals, racists, bigots, stupids, drug peddlers, ……….?

  • 3
    1

    Basil Fernando,
    *
    It was a very lovely and most poignant poem about Kuveni.
    *
    In the book “Sapiens- A Brief History of Humankind, author Yuval Noah Hararai rationalizes the following:
    *
    “There is some evidence that the size of the average Sapiens brain has actually decreased since the age of foraging. Survival in that era required superb mental abilities from everyone. When agriculture and industry came along people could increasingly rely on the skills of others for survival, and new ‘niches for imbeciles’ were opened up. You could survive and pass your unremarkable genes to the next generation by working as a water carrier or an assembly-line worker.”
    *
    The agricultural age began about 10,000 years ago; the industrial age about 250 years ago. He opines that human reached their cognitive peak about 70,000- 30,000 years ago.

    • 0
      3

      Grandma,
      You easily go brainwashed and then give shave to you colleagues head too. I can’t think of another era other than now when the proportion Computer, Architect, Physics, Medicine(Diagnosis) related job proportionally higher. Imagination flourish in two time. 1)When you think leisurely or engaged into dreaming and 2).When you are seriously engaged in figuring out something. Sapiens species have more time for both now, than earlier. During hunting era man was cunning and stealing than designing and innovating.

      • 0
        0

        Mallaiyuran,
        *
        As expected, yours is the typical line of reasoning. So very………platitudinous.
        *
        Modern day science, mathematics, medicine etc. are merely an accumulation of millennia of sparse knowledge assimilated by the colonists that copied esoteric concepts from cultures they invaded. Human masses are being force-fed this knowledge, so systems like the global capitalistic system (based on copied knowledge and created into industry) can make money for the wealthy post-colonial few… but only a few can work with it whilst the rest of the masses are indentured-workers to uphold the system. Vices like cunning and stealing have hence taken heightened levels in this era.
        *
        The cranial potential to create pure inspiration out of thin air, e.g. quadratic equations from Egypt 4,000 years ago)was finally realized 70,000-4,000 years later after human cranium content expanded 70,000 years ago.
        *
        it is now thought that the pyramids were built with long lost African Mathematics that Europeans have yet to decipher.

  • 3
    0

    This is what I read. ‘People found their way from Africa, and settled in Sri Lanka’.
    .
    I am wondering, was the island of Sri Lanka there, when those people found their way from Africa?
    .
    I ask for forgiveness from Basil Fernando for taking the liberty to pose my question, at an inopportune moment.

    • 0
      0

      Yep. It was a part of the subcontinent at that time.

  • 3
    5

    It is a pity that our leaders have not paid adequate attention to our real indigenous minority and giving too much emphasis to ‘Paradesi’ minorities. When our leaders address the nation they do not include Vedda Eththo (Adiwasi) but mention Demala, Muslim, Burgher.
    Demalu (Tamils after 1911) who are the descendants of slaves brought by colonial parasites carried out a terrorist campaign to create a separate State based on a bogus claim ‘Traditional Homeland’. They do not deserve a separate State/Federal System/Devolution of Power. But I strongly believe that we should give an ‘Autonomous Region’ for Vedda Eththo so that they can continue with their traditional way of life because they are the real indigenous minority in Sri Lanka.

    SLPP should have sent Uru Warige Wannila Eththo to the Parliament from the National List. He is much better than most of our politicians.

    • 3
      1

      Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

      “…………………………………… giving too much emphasis to ‘Paradesi’ minorities.”

      It is admirable that you are talking about yourself and the fellow descendants of Kallathonies.

      • 1
        3

        Native (Fake) Vedda,
        I told you to come up with something more exiting instead of repeating the same old dry joke.

    • 3
      2

      Eagle,

      “All Tamils in Sri Lanka are from Hindusthan brought to Sinhale by colonial parasites. “
      Why do you keep repeating this utter rubbish? Do you not know that the latest DNA research shows that Jaffna Tamils are more closely related to Upcountry Sinhalese than to Indian Tamils?

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg2013112%23:~:text%3DThe%2520majority%2520of%2520Sinhalese%2520and,themselves%2520on%2520both%2520PC%2520axes.%26text%3DIt%2520was%2520evident%2520that%2520Up,when%2520compared%2520with%2520Indian%2520Tamils.&ved=2ahUKEwiU-Nmwq__qAhWIWisKHVsTCyMQFjAEegQIChAJ&usg=AOvVaw1L1e6KQQ2r11Hh_RsBffru

      Quote: “The majority of Sinhalese and Tamil subgroups form close genetic proximities among themselves on both PC axes. … It was evident that Up-country Sinhalese are genetically closer to Sri Lankan Tamils. On the other hand, Sri Lankan Tamil subgroups were closer to each other when compared with Indian Tamils”
      Even a racist like you should be able to understand that this disproves your theories about colonial parasites.
      Go take your pills.

      • 3
        2

        Eagle,
        It is racists like you who ruined the country that was efficiently run by minorities before 1948.
        Just look at the tea industry, run into the ground by idiots who believe that an ignorant Buddhist monk, Ratana, knows all about Glyphosate and kidney disease.
        The Universities have been screwed up . USJ had a VC who wanted virginity tests for female students!

        • 2
          4

          Old codger,
          Before 1948, ‘Para’ Suddas ruled the country. Malabar Vellala Demalu licked the sss of Suddas saying ‘Yes Sir, ‘Yes Sir’ and joined Suddas administration and oppressed Native Sinhalayo.
          It is racists Chelvanayakam who was born in Malaya and entered Sinhale as a Kallathoni who ruined this country first by forming the Federal Party in 1949 and passing Batakotte Resolution in 1976 to create a separate State for the descendants of Dravida slaves brought by Portuguese and dumped in Yapanaya.
          Sinhalayo made a blunder by giving citizenship to these Dravida aliens who have become a real headache to Native Sinhalayo.

          • 0
            0

            Eagle,
            “Malabar Vellala Demalu licked the sss of Suddas saying ‘Yes Sir, ‘Yes Sir’ and joined Suddas administration and oppressed Native Sinhalayo.”
            At least they ran the trains on time, and produced a surplus budget. Who screwed it all up? Go look in the mirror.
            When you give razors to monkeys……..
            Please fill in the blanks.

        • 4
          1

          old codger

          “USJ had a VC who wanted virginity tests for female students!”

          I know a person who can do it for him.
          How about Saffron Gnanasara?

          • 0
            0

            Native,
            I hear one USJ former VC is now reduced to selling Glyphosate in Canada.

      • 1
        3

        Fake history, Fake DNA

        The tools of the fake Tamizs

      • 1
        4

        old codger,
        Amarasiri reincarnated. I replied to this BS before. Go and read my comment before you cut and paste the same nonsense.

        • 0
          0

          Eagle,
          If you cannot refute the evidence, just say so. I will understand. Don’t keep on repeating this inane rubbish over and over.
          You cut and paste your own stuff. Don’t you have the imagination to write something new?

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